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Previewing Florida State: Ham is coming to town, and he's bringing Bacon

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

How to watch or listen to the game

Tip time: 9 p.m. ET, Wednesday, Jan. 13

TV: ACC Network (Mike Gleason, Mike Gminski) -- affiliates

Online streamingESPN3

Radio: Wolfpack Sports Network (affiliates)

Florida State vitals

Record: 10-5 (0-3)
RPI: 88
Pomeroy ranking: No. 52
Best win***: 73-71 over Florida (KenPom No. 30)
Worst loss: 82-77 to Hofstra (KenPom No. 87)

(***Best win or loss based on opponent's Pomeroy Rating, not the scoring margin.)

Adjusted tempo: 74.3 poss/40 minutes (ranks 22nd)
Adjusted offensive efficiency: 106.9 (ranks 92nd)
Adjusted defensive efficiency: 95.6 (ranks 43rd)

FSU roster
FSU schedule
FSU stats 2016

The Florida State offense and starters

FSU Offense -- Four Factors eFG% (National Rank) TO% OR% FT Rate
2014-15 50.1 (107) 21.9 (323) 31.8 (135) 46.9 (11)
2015-16 50.6 (128) 18.0 (141) 31.7 (131) 40.0 (106)

Ham? Ham!

From a game between 0-2 teams in Winston-Salem to a game between 0-3 teams in Raleigh. Maybe it will work out better for NC State this time? Hey, listen here, pal, it could work out better. It dang well could end up working out better. Who are you, a pessimist from the future? I THINK NOT.

What was I talking about? Oh that's right.

Florida State hasn't been to the NCAA tournament since 2012, and although that drought appears unlikely to end this season, Lenny Ham has his program moving closer to a return trip. That's a direct result of improved recruiting--Hamilton added a pair of top-50 recruits in Dwayne Bacon and Malik Beasley, both of whom are averaging 16.7 points per game. The Seminoles will add a couple more top-100 players in the fall. The rally is in progress, but the payoff is a year away.

Aside from Bacon and Beasley, the Seminoles still have Xavier Rathan-Mayes, who got plenty of All-ACC respect prior to the beginning of the season. So FSU has good size and depth along the perimeter, with the usual parade of tall people occupying the paint.

Those tall people haven't had much of an impact in the scoring column, however, and the Seminoles lack three-point threats despite the talent at guard. Their offense is ranked about 70 spots higher this season primarily because the Noles have cut down on turnovers and improved significantly at the free throw line. Otherwise, they look quite a bit like they did last season.


Xavier Rathan-Mayes (6-4, 208) -- XRM is capable of scoring in bunches, but those occasions have been more infrequent than most would have guessed, because his jump shot remains iffy. He shot 28.1% from three as a freshman, and he's hitting 32.8% as a sophomore--not totally useless, but below average. He's become more of a facilitator with Beasley and Bacon on the roster; his workload is down quite a bit, and his assist rate is up.

Malik Beasley (6-5, 196) -- Beasley's been worth the hype so far. Dude has a 120 offensive rating despite taking 27% of the team's shots while he's on the floor. It's pretty difficult to maintain that level of efficiency with such a high workload. He's making it look easy, though, what with his 37% outside shooting, 54.3% shooting inside the arc, and 84.8% shooting at the stripe.

Dwayne Bacon (6-7, 221) -- Is there a better name in college basketball? Probably not. Additionally, Bacon is a decent basketball player. The former five-star prospect is the primary scoring option for the Florida State offense; he's taking a TJ Warren-esque 31.3% of the Noles' shots. His outside shooting touch is not there yet (.286 on the year), but he's been a reliable scorer inside the arc (.543 on twos).

Montay Brandon (6-8, 229) -- With the guards eating up so many possessions in 2016, Brandon's gone from secondary option to spectator. He's good at drawing fouls but that's about the only positive worth a mention.

Boris Bojanovsky (7-3, 248) -- Bojo is still a very tall person and as such remains good at grabbing offensive boards and blocking shots. His low-post game never evolved to a point where the Seminoles could rely on him as a primary scorer, but he's plenty capable of cleaning up misses or scorin' a few bunnies off of teammates' penetration.

The Florida State bench and defense

Reserves: Devon Bookert (6-3, 198), Jarquez Smith (6-9, 236), Terance Mann (6-6, 204), Benji Bell (6-4, 204), Chris Koumadje (7-4, 233). Was a recruiting class featuring a guy named Dwayne Bacon enough? Heck no. That's why Ham went out and added Terance Mann. Mann would be getting more minutes for the Seminoles except that more often than not he ends up interrupting practice with a five-minute monologue on baseball.

FSU Defense -- Four Factors eFG% (National Rank) TO% OR% FT Rate
2014-15 47.3 (95) 18.0 (240) 31.9 (220) 37.9 (203)
2015-16 49.9 (191) 19.8 (93) 26.4 (54) 34.4 (130)

As is typical of your annual Ham Jam, Florida State has plenty of height to go around. The Seminoles rank 10th nationally in effective height, third in average height. But they haven't been able to control the paint like FSU teams of the past, continuing an alarming trend from 2015.

From 2009 through 2014, Florida State finished in the top 20 in 2FG% defense five times and led the country in that category in 2011. This season their 2FG% defense ranks only 213th, down from 121st last season. While the size is there, generally speaking, this is not the elite shot-blocking outfit that it was as recently as 2014.

The size does continue to encourage opponents to settle for jump shots, though.

The Pomeroy Predictor likes NC State by three.